Don’t Slam That Door!

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My soon-to-be father-in-law is a jack of all trades. Though not a professional handyman, he is a skilled craftsman and is my go-to for home improvement questions. 


A project that’s been on my to-do list for a while is installing soft closures for our kitchen cabinets. Soft closures are additions added to existing hinges which prevent the doors from slamming. They can either be installed at the time of cabinet installation, or as an add-on feature. 

Shockingly, our kitchen has 20 cabinet doors. 20 cabinets might not sound significant, but when you think about installing a troublesome little device in each of them, it quickly adds up to a big project. 

We started with one set of soft closures, but my father-in-law wasn’t satisfied with their quality, so we headed to Home Depot where we bought a new set. If you are in the market for these babies, pay close attention to where the screw must be inserted. This detail made the new set much easier to install that our first set. 

This is also a perfect excuse to clean out your cabinets: throw out expired food, combine duplicates, rearrange in a manner that makes sense for you.  I also washed the fronts of each cabinet and drawer because now that I have slam-free cabinets, I don’t dare have a little mark on them! 

This DIY project should be categorized as “non-obvious improvement”. It’s something that won’t be noticed as a clear upgrade (in the way granite counter tops are when replacing Formica), but instead, adding luxe to your existing floor plan. And really, who doesn’t love luxe?  

There are two methods – predrilling or not predrilling*, you’ll find both sets of directions below, use whichever makes most sense for you:’

*The soft closures are attached to the cabinet doors with what they call “self-starting screws,” which have a sharp tip and are supposed to penetrate the wood without needing a drill.  My father-in-law advocated pre-drilling, but Boo and I found it to be too much trouble, and too little reward.  You can decide for yourself….

Directions with predrilling:
1. Place the soft closure mechanism where you want it, and using a drill bit, pre-drill a hole in your cabinet ceiling through the screw-hole (this is where you will eventually the soft close contraption), be sure to align the top of the cabinet with the soft closure’s “lip”
2. Remove the drill bit from the drill, replace with a screwdriver attachment
3. Take a screw and just barely insert it into the hole on the soft closure 
4. Replace the soft closure to the same position you had it when you pre-drilled, drill the screw into the cabinet adhering the two together
5. Close the cabinet to be sure the soft closures are working – there is usually an adjustment on the back of the soft closure mechanism which will help you adjust the pressure of the close (for whatever reason, we adjusted some doors, but not all), just turn the dial until you have a close you are satisfied with 
6. Pat yourself on the back – job well done!

Directions without predrilling:
1. Align the top of the cabinet with the soft closure’s “lip”, just barely insert the screw into the basket (if there are two baskets for a screw, be sure to choose the one farthest from the cabinet’s hinge)
2. With your drill attached with screwdriver attachment, screw into the cabinet adhering the closure and cabinet together
3. Close the cabinet to be sure the soft closures are working – there is usually an adjustment on the back of the contraption which will help you adjust the pressure of the close (for whatever reason, we adjusted some doors, but not all), just turn the dial until you have a close you are satisfied with 
4. Pat yourself on the back – job well done!

Drill bit:


Pre-drilling a hole:


The pre-drilled hole:


Screwdriver attachment:


Right side of a tall cabinet – be sure you are inserting the screw in the hole furthest from the hinge:


Same cabinet’s installation, different angle:


Here you can see the soft closure is flush with the lip of the cabinet ceiling:

Some tips:
1. Use the lightest possible drill — many angles are awkward and it’s harder to do with a heavy drill
2. Always try to steady or anchor your drilling arm, this will help you to more easily drive the screw into the cabinet 
3. Pay attention to where you are drilling, if you do not align the lip of the closure to the lip of the cabinet, there will be too much space between the door and the device and the door will continue to slam 
4. Do not push the screw all the way into the closure’s basket before you drill, this will prevent you from aligning the closure with the cabinet and lead you to run into the situation described above in #3
5. Inspect your closures to be sure these directions make sense for the product you have — not all may be alike

I had to say uncle a few times, especially on the cabinets requiring my left hand as the drilling hand. That wasn’t pretty. I was behaving like a very undomesticated wolf…

Do you have soft closures in your kitchen?  Is this a project you would consider doing yourself?

xx,
The Future Mrs. Wolf